The Barons and Grand Rapids Griffins meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday inside the Cox Convention Center. OKC has nine Friday-Saturday home dates this season, and this is the first.
Barons coach Todd Nelson said in some ways he treats back-to-back games against the same opponent as a playoff scenario.
“You break down the tape a bit, see if there are some tweaks we can make to our game,” Nelson said.
OKC goaltender Yann Danis said of back-to-backs: “You definitely have to set the tone the first game, and I think we did that tonight, but you know they're going to come back tomorrow and want to win even more. We're definitely going to have to be ready.”
The Barons will be home again next Friday night to face Charlotte at 7. OKC then travels to Houston next Saturday and San Antonio on Oct. 30.
DANIS IS DYNAMITE
In the Barons' season-opening 7-0 loss at Texas, Danis surrendered four goals in just 28 minutes.
He sat out the second game, and since then Danis has given up just two goals in the last 180 minutes.
“He's a very calming presence,” Nelson said of Danis. “When you watch him play, he's always in a good position. He's not really acrobatic, though he does make some acrobatic saves when he has to. He's a very calming presence for our defense because he's always in position when the puck hits him. He makes saves look easy, and that's a very good thing for our young defense.”
When Grand Rapids scored at 5:27 in the first period to tie the score at 1, it ended 84 minutes and two seconds of shutout time for Danis.
“I try not to get too high and not to get too low,” Danis said. “Right now, I'm just feeling good out there. I'm seeing the puck well. I'm feeling big in the net, but most importantly, I see the shots.”
Nelson constantly preaches about the importance of special teams.
“After that first game, that's something we pride ourselves on,” Nelson said. “If we can finish in the top 10 in both categories (power plays and penalty kills), that usually says that you're going to make the playoffs. I think the stats show that 75 percent of the games now are determined by special teams.”
The Barons were 5 for 5 in penalty kills and 2 for 7 on power plays Friday.
Nelson played for Grand Rapids and also served as an assistant for the Griffins for one season. … Friday's crowd of 2,654 was the smallest home attendance of the season. … The Barons took 36 shots on Grand Rapids veteran goaltender Joey MacDonald, who played 15 games with the Detroit Red Wings last season. MacDonald made several outstanding saves, particularly in the first period, when the Barons outshot the Griffins 15-5. … Following Saturday night's game, Barons employees will remove section covers to open roughly 6,000 seats for Sunday night's US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational hosted by Kevin Durant. Approximately 1,000 tickets remain for the basketball exhibition. Seats are priced at $29, $39, $59 and $89.